Frederick E Shearer.

The Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... online

. (page 55 of 61)
Online LibraryFrederick E ShearerThe Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... → online text (page 55 of 61)
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ripened, and the roots die, and seeds sprout

It is in passing through such portions of the
country as this that the traveler comprehends
more fully than ever before the vast resources
of our wonderful land. It is by no means only
in the extent of its square miles that this coun-
try is great, but on account of the fertility of
its vast reaches of land, unequalled in any other
portion of the globe, on account of the immense
wealth so immense as to be incomprehensible
of its mines, developed and yet undeveloped,
and on account of its variety of climate, rang-
ing from the fierce winter equal to that of the
Northern circle, down through the scale com-
prehending nearly all qualities of climate to be
found in the old worlds, to the hottest and most
tropical of summers and winters. Its resources
are to be found in its fertile lands yet lying un-
cultivated, but which, when occupied and tilled,
are capable of supplying the whole of a wrld
as large as ours for centuries to come with food.
People of all nations may here find homes suit-
able and agreeable to them; for we have the
climate of the Arab as well as that of the
Northman. Through the deserts and on the
plains of Kansas herds of wild camels are to be
found. They were imported for carrying pur-
poses, but proved impracticable and compara-
tively useless against quicker and better modes
of transportation, so were turned loose to live
or die, as might be. They lived, and are now
thriving and multiplying, so that at no distant
date it is supposed herds of camels will be as
common a sight on the plains of Kansas as the
presence of buffaloes. This instance is but one
small indication of the many others, of the
adaptability, we might say, of this country to
the wants of the living things of almost every
other land in the world. To a person of senti-
ment with a full knowledge of the course of
events occurring in the late centuries, it seems
as if this immense country, with its sparsely

settled population of inferior beings, had been
prepared for the reception and lay waiting for
the arrival of Europe's wealth of animal life;
life, he would suppose, that had become so far
advanced, that had run on in the t oad of im-
provement so far before the other lives in th/3
nations of the Old "World, that newer aud
greater facilities for the exercise of their powers
were needed, for which Providence gave them
this country; and to-day, a few hundred years
from the date of its discovery, the busy mil-
lions that are now opening up its resources are
very, very few compared to the hosts of as many
centuries in the future. The majority of the
States individually have resources enough to
support European nations. Its scenery too,
surpasses that of the Old World, and now the
tide of sight-seers is setting toward the West,
for there it is the traveled man will aver the
beauties of nature are unsurpassed, in the
accumulation of grand and gigantic moun-
tains, seemingly piled one above the other, until
the lofty heads of the greatest ones pierce a sky
as blue and clear as any Italy can boast of. In
the curious and the novel, in the weird
and the dreamlike, in the beautiful and the
lovely, the scenery of this country is su-
preme. We may well look upon and think
of our country and be proud that we live
in it.

Morrano, 88.3 miles from San Francisco,

is a side track and warehouse for shipping grain.

Ripon, 93 miles, is another side track and

small station, near which the Stanislaus River is


Snlida, 96 miles, is a similar station ; and
Modesto, 102.8 miles, is the county seat of
Stanislaus (pronounced Stan-is-law) County. In
1870, when the town was laid out, it was pro-
posed to name it after the late Wm. C. Ralston,
but his modesty forbade ; hence the name, the
Spanish for modesty. It has a population of
1500, and is situated near the Tuolumne River.
Ceres, 107.4 miles,
Turlock, 115.9 miles,
Cressey, 126 miles, and

Atwater, 132.7 miles, are side tracks for
shipping grain.

Between Turlock and Cressey the Merced
River is crossed, flowing down and out of the
Yosemite Valley.

Merced, 140.2 miles, was located through
the exertion of Mr. C. H. Hoffman, a prominent
land-owner, soon after the railroad was built, and
has now become the county seat of Merced Coun-
ty, and the point of departure for the Yosemite
Valley via Coulterville or Mariposa.

The large hotel on the left of the road the El
Capitan was erected by the railroad company
to provide .for the greater comfort of tourists. It
is one of the most commodious structures for the
purpose outside of San Francisco. The Court



House is a credit to the town and county. It
cost $75,000, and is the best in the San Joaquin

Artesian wells are numerous. In one of Mr.
Hoffman's the water rises to within ten feet of
the surface and is then pumped by steam, dis-
charging at the rate of 30,000 gallons every

There are two weekly papers, the San Joaquin
Valley Argus and the Merced Express. The
plain, especially toward the river, ten miles dis-
tant, abounds with hare, or the ' ' jackass rabbit ' '
(Lepus Calif ornicus), and Merced is the starting-
point of numerous coursing matches.

Much of the land is owned in large tracts.
One of the farms of Miller & Lux is near this
place. It is ninety-seven, miles long, with an
average width of fifteen miles.

In two years they built on it 780 miles of
fence, costing $800 a mile. On this ranch are
kept 150 saddle-horses : and two oxen, besides
calves, hogs, and sheep, are killed every other
day for the workmen. It is said they can begin
to drive cattle at Los Angeles and stop on their
own land every night until they reach San Fran-
cisco. They send to the city 1800 oxen every

Leaving Merced, we cross a large number of
sloughs and creeks, but all decrease in size as they
go toward the river, and finally spread out over
the plain or sink.

flainsburg, 150.1 miles, is a small station
on Deadman's Creek.

Mintum, 156.5 miles, is another small sta-
tion, not far from Ash Slough.

Berenda, 166 miles, is also a new railroad
town. Soon after leaving this place the Fresno
River is crossed.

Made r a, 173.5 miles, is a new town,
started in 1876, and has t\ population of 400. It
is the terminus of a V-shaped flume, 53 miles
long, by which lumber is brought along the Fres-
no River from the immediate vicinity of the
Fresno groves of Big Trees. It is owned by the
California Lumber and Flume Company. The
company have a planing-mill at Madera. The
Fresno River supplies water also for extensive ir-
rigation, and the ditches may be seen on the
right of the railroad.

From Madera nearly all tourists leave the
railroad for the Yosemite Valley. At this point
a sleeping-car is detached from the train leaving
San Francisco at 4 p. M., and remains upon a
side track until morning, thus insuring a full
night's rest.

Borden, 176.3 miles^ is a town of 200 peo-
ple; the surrounding country having the bene-
fit of the water brought from the Fresno River.
Cottonwood Creek may be noticed when filled
by the winter rains. It is crossed after leaving
the station.

Sycamore, 185.3 miles, is a side track, but
marks the crossing of the San Joaquin River, at
the head of navigation for steamers during the
high water of the winter season.

Fresno, 195.1 miles, is the county seat of
Fresno County, with a population of nearly 1000.
The Court House is the largest building, and cost
$60,000. The soil is mostly good, but crops can
be secured only by irrigation. A stage runs to
Centerville, in the foot-hills, 17 miles east.

Two weekly newspapers are published here,
the Fresno Expositor and the Republican.

The town has a bank, and does a large business*
with the surrounding country. One firm sells
$120,000 per year, and the receipts for passen-
gers and freight are $70, 000 a month.

The town is located on a rich, alluvial, sandy
plain, between the King and San Joaquin rivers,
and the abundance of water for irrigation and
the canals built and projected destine this to be
one of the most fruitful portions of the whole
State. There are five hotels, the principal being
the Henry House.

The Central California Colony is located on
these rich lands, where the growth of trees,
shrubs, and alfalfa is astonishing. The lots are
40 acres each and are sold on small installments,
and are worthy the attention of settlers with
small means.

Fowler, 204.7 miles,

Kingsbury, 215.2 miles, and

Cross Creek, 223.3 miles, are small stations.

King's River, which is crossed between Kings-
bury and Cross Creek, rises in the high Sierras.
The course of the railroad being parallel to
the axis of the Sierras, the traveler has a succes-
sion of magnificent and ever-changing views.

Goshen, 229.1 miles, is where the Southern
Pacific Railroad connects with the Visalia branch
of the Central. The northern terminus of this
part of the Southern Pacific is not at Goshen but
at Huron, 40 miles west of Goshen. These 40
miles are the Goshen Division of the Southern Pa-

On the GOSHEN division,

Hanford is 12.9 miles from Goshen, in what
is called the Mussel Slough country, a region on
the north of Tulare Lake, embracing one of the
richest portions of the State. Five crops of al-
falfa may be cut during the year. Corn grows
to a height of twelve to eighteen feet, but the
yield does not exceed sixty or seventy bushels to
the acre. Pumpkins are immense.

Lemoore, 20. 9 miles from Goshen, is a new and
promising village.

Heinlen is 22.5 miles from Goshen, and

Huron, 40 miles. All these are in the Mussel
Slough country a country well-known from the
resistance of the settlers to the efforts of the rail'
road company to eject them, and the bloodshed
tiaused thereby. Huron is the terminus.


At Goshen there is another branch railroad to
Visalia. It is only seven miles long, and was
built by the people of Visalia, the principal and
county town of Tulare County.

This Visat/ia Railroad is wholly independent of
the Central and Southern Pacific roads, the presi-
dent and manager being R. E. Hyde, Esq., of

Visalia is an old town, laid out shortly after
the occupation of the country by the Americans.
It has a population of about 2000 ; one of the
best court houses in the San Joaquin Valley
south of Stockton ; six hotels, three churches, a
substantial bank, several mills, gas and water
works, and three weekly papers the Delta,
Times, and Iron Age. A United States land of-
fice is located here.

Soon after leaving Goshen, there is a tangent
to Lerdo 50 miles the longest piece of straight
track on the road'.

Tulare, 239.6 miles from San Francisco, has
a population of nearly 1000, and a round-house
for the Tulare Division of the Southern Pacific

It is an important point for shipping wood and
"wool. The eucalyptus-tree may be seen growing
luxuriantly wherever planted.

This part of the great San Joaquin Valley is of-
ten called the Tulare Valley. It is only 327 feet
above the sea-level, and is well timbered. The
groves of beautiful oaks are like natural parks in-
viting occupancy.

Tulare Lake lies south-west, is nearly circular
in form, 30 miles long, and covers an area of 700
square miles. It abounds in fish and water-fowl.
After leaving Tulare, the railroad crosses Tulare
River, a narrow channel, and reaches

Tipton, 250 miles from San Francisco,
where the character of the land changes, the
groves disappearing.

Alila, 262 miles,

Delano, 270.3 miles, and

Posa, 282. 1 miles, are small stations on the
great plain ; and

L/erdo, 290.1 miles, is a station of the same
character, but the shipping-point for the Buena
Vista Oil Works, about 40 miles south-west. The
oil region does not bid fair to rival Pennsylva-
nia's, but Calif ornians are always looking for
new and rich developments. Lerdo is the pro-
posed point of junction with the branch of the
Northern Division, now built to Soledad, to be
extended through the Polonio Pass.

Near the next station the railroad crosses
King's River, flowing from the high Sierras and
the glaciers of Mounts Tyndall and Whitney, and
running south in these high Sierras from these
peaks directly east of Visalia until east of Sum-
ner. After flowing a long distance to the west,
the river turns to the north and flows into Tulare

Where the Kern River leaves the mountains
and turns toward the plain is Walker's Pass
(through the Sierras), thence a road north to
Owen's Lake, into which a river of the same
name flows. The lake is about 20 miles long and
10 wide.

Summer, 302.5 miles, is a busy point, with
a population of about 300. It is the depot for
Bakersfield, the principal town in what is called
the Kern Valley, and county town of Kern County.
Kern Valley, like Tulare, is a part of the San Jo-
aquin. The land is a rich sedimentary deposit.
In this valley are the most extensive irrigat-
ing canals and ditches to be found in the State.
Some are 40 miles long and 275 feet wide and 8
feet deep. A system has also been adopted to
reclaim swamp lands in the valley, by which
65,000 acres will be brought into market. On all
these lands water is abundant, and two crops can
be raised each year. Sweet potatoes are found
weighing 24 pounds each, alfalfa producing
seven crops of from one to two tons each to the
acre, and corn producing from 60 to 120 bushels
per acre ; and the growth of cotton has been suc-
cessfully tried, producing 400 pounds to the acre.

On one of the ranches of Messrs. Hoggin.
& Carr, of San Francisco, two artesian wells,
260 and 300 feet deep, send water 12 feet above
the surface of the ground, and discharge each
through a seven-inch pipe from 3,000 to 4,000
gallons per hour. They have on this ranch a
dairy of 300 cows, a large apiary, 4,000 stock
cattle, besides horses, mules, sheep, hogs, and
3,500 acres in alfalfa. They have expended im-
mense sums of money in constructing irrigat-
ing ditches. A plow once used here, the ' ' Great
Western," is the largest in the world, and re-
quires eighty oxen with a ton of chains and a
ton of ox yokes to use it, and cuts a furrow
five feet wide, and, if necessary, three feet
deep, at the rate of eight miles a day. Another
plow, "Sampson," a little smaller, requires
from thirty to forty mules for use in ditching.

Messrs. Carr & Haggin have a number of
ranches in this valley, aggregating 600,000 acres,
and on them at times 100,000 sheep. They
raised 350 bushels of sweet potatoes to the
acre. One half acre of sweet potatoes yielded
$150. They sell or lease lands in small lots.

One man moved on 40 acres of hind April
26th, 1877, and on November 1st, 1877, had
grown and sold $2,000 worth of corn, beans and
pumpkins. But it is said to be hot and malarious.

The town of Bakersfield has a population of
about 1000, good public buildings, a bank, two
weekly papers, the Courier- Calif ornian and the

At Sumner the grade begins for ascending the
Sierras, but just before reaching Pampa there is a
descent of about 80 feet to cross Basin Creek (so
named from Walker's Basin on the east), after


which the ascent is resumed and the road soon
follows Caliente Creek, crossing and recrossing
it a number of times.

J*ainpa, 317.5 miles, is a small station.

Caliente, 324.8 miles, has an elevation of 1290
feet. It is at the junction of the Caliente and
Tehachapi creeks. The axis of the Sierras runs
south-west about 20 miles from Caliente to Te-
jon (Tay-hone) Pass. Caliente was long the
southern terminus of the Tulare Division, and
stages ran from this point to the railroad 20
miles north of Los Angeles. It is now the ship-
ping-point for considerable freight.

Stages leave daily for Havilah, 25 miles, and
Kernville, 45 miles, both in Kern County and
north-east of this station. The population is
only 100.

Tehachapi Pass.

The Tehachapi Creek flows down the mountain
from the south-east, and at Caliente one can look
directly up the Tehachapi Canon for some dis-

As one approached the station, he saw the rail-
road on the right only a short distance away ; and
on leaving the station, the train bends around the
few houses and goes down the creek, but it con-
tinues and increases its steep and wonderful climb.
For twenty miles the grade, including curvature,
is 116 feet to the mile. So accurately and con-
stantly are the grades and curvatures adjusted
to one another, with reference to obtaining a uni-
form traction, that the whole is a piece of work
not only unique in plan but unsurpassed in exe-
cution. A writer of world-wide travel calls it a
remarkable triumph of engineering science, and
says, " I know of nothing like it, unless it be the
road over the Styrian Alps from Vienna to Trieste ;
and even there, if I remember rightly, the track
does not literally cross itself." Prof. George
Davidson, of the United States Coast Survey,
says it is not equaled by any railroad engineer-
ing he has seen in America or Europe. It is a
marvel of genius and perfection that will give
lasting honor to Colonel George E. Gray, the Chief
Engineer of the road, and to his efficient assist-
ant, William Hood, Esq., by whom all plans,
suggestions, and directions were faithfully car-
ried out.

Cape Horn, on the Central Pacific, presented
no difficulty to be compared with the Tehachapi.
To overcome the former was an act of courage,
but requiring far less ingenuity and skill than to
build successfully and economically in this defile.

But the tourist will prefer to see for himself,
and his attention will be divided between the
work and the scenery of the canon. The latter
is not majestic, like that on the American River,
but quite picturesque and often grand.

Leaving Caliente, the Tehachapi Creek is lost
sight of, and the road winds around among the

Bealeville, 330.1 miles,is a small station, honor-
ing General Beale. When approaching and at it,
a pretty view may be had of the rugged hills on
the left beyond Caliente. Under the morning
sun on the numerous ridges and valleys, coming
down from the long mountain chain, there are
ever-varying lines of light and shade.

After leaving Bealeville the road passes around
Clear Creek Canon, one of the most formidable
pieces of work on the mountain, having in it tun-
nels 3, 4, 5, and 6 ; and as you enter the canon,
you see on the left the road ascending the oppo-
site wall of the canon more than a hundred feet
above, and it is only three or four hundred
yards across the canon !

The tunnels are numerous, there being seventeen
between Caliente and the summit. The short-
est is No. 11, 158.8 feet, and the longest, No.
5, 1156.3 feet. The aggregate length of the sev-
enteen is 7683.9 feet.

On emerging from tunnel No. 6, six miles from
Caliente, the Tehachapi creek and canon are
seen below, and Caliente itself only a mile away,
but about six hundred feet below the train !

The old road to Havilah and Kernville appears
like a trail on the hills beyond Caliente, and the
new road may be seen following up the canon of
Caliente Creek.

Oaks are now becoming more numerous and
beautifying the hillsides. The old stage-road to
Los Angeles is seen far away and above on the
right. And now there begins to appear the ' ' Span-
ish-bayonet" (Yucca Gioriosa), one of the love-
liest flowers that adorns the land. When it blos-
soms in early spring, it will attract and enthuse
every one. On the top of its tall, straight, sin-
gle stem is a great panicle of snow-white blos-
soms, and the whole air is richly laden with their
most delicious fragrance. It partakes somewhat
of the character of the night-blooming cereus,
for the fullest bloom and sweetest fragrance are
in the night. Twelve hundred blossoms may be
counted on a single stalk, and in the vicinity of
Los Angeles, where the stalk grows fifteen feet
high, si thousand blossoms have been found.

The scenery now grows wilder ; the rocks in
the canon are sharper and more forbidding, and
piled higher and higher. In the narrow canon
there are rocks frowning from above, and rising
up from the crooked defile of the creek 700 feet

On passing through Tunnel 8, one may notice
how rapidly the bed of the creek is rising. The
heavy cuts also indicate the difficult character of
the work. The rock is granitoid, yet, solid and
safe as the tunnels through it seem, the fearful may
take courage, for assurance is doubly sure, all
the tunnels being lined with the cedars of Oregon.


An occasional pine is now seen, and as the al-
titude increases they will become more numer-

As one looks back down the canon, he may see
the top of Breckenbridge Mountain. It was hid
at Caliente, but has now crawled up into view.
The old stage-road is crossed and recrossed, and
at length the railroad crosses the Tehachapi
Creek itself. Off to the right we have a pretty
view of Bear Mountain, a peak of the Sierras.
It is snow-crowned late in the spring.

The track then curves, making the " Twitty
Creek Bend," from which, in clear atmosphere,
one may look out over the wide expanse of the
San Joaquin Valley, off hundreds of miles to-
wards San Francisco.

We recross the Tehachapi Creek, just as we

Keene, 338 miles. It is a small station.
Around it there are many points of interest in
the mountain scenery, but the view is not exten-
sive or sublime. On the right of Keene is that
familiar friend, Bear Mountain, heavily timbered.
It appeared often along the road, and at Caliente
seemed as near as it now does.

Then crossing and almost immediately recross-
ing the creek, the road makes a long curve to
the right, turns again sharply to the left to pass
through tunnel 9 and pass around the Loop.

The road-bed is no longer far above the creek,
and how to ascend without expending millions
for long tunnels was the problem the Loop solved.
Here the canon of the Tehachapi has widened,
and in it there is a conical-shaped hill. Beneath
this the train goes through tunnel 9, and emerg-
ing it curves to the left and climbs this same hill
and crosses the track, with a difference in eleva-
tion of 77.46 feet. Tunnel 9 is 426.2 feet long ;
the loop-line is 3794.7 feet ; the curvature, 300
52' ; the limit of curvature, 10 ; and the radius,
573.7 feet. Then, by a fill of 150,000 cubic yards,
the road passes from the peak around which it
curved over to the wall of the canon, and is
again far above the bed of the creek. Or sup-
pose one starts with the civil engineer to go down
the mountain. He can not descend as rapidly as
the creek tumbles over the rocks, and he reaches
the narrow part of the canon, but can not get
down where his road can follow it. So he drops
it down by means of the loop, and for saving
money " there's millions in it."

In curving around the hill, after passing
through tunnel 9, and on the north-east side of
the hill, there is a heavy cut that required much
blasting, and here were used the largest blasts
exploded on the line of the road, and larger than
any used on the Central Pacific.

The best view of the Loop is had just before
entering tunnel 10, by looking back down the
canon. Five lines of railroad are crossing and
recrossing the canon. Between tunnels 10 and

11, and just before entering tunnel 11, one may
see on the right the top of a lofty peak, covered
with brush, but without trees. Call it after your-
self, or the " enterprising newsboy," or what you
choose, for it has no name. (See page 357.)

After passing tunnel 11 the train has reached

Crirard, 343.8 miles. It is a small station.
The old stage-road comes near, but it is down
in the bottom of the canon. It looks as if the
summit was close at hand, but it is nearly nine
miles away. The open country is an indication
of its approach, but numerous spurs of trouble-
some rock must yet be pierced with tunnels ; and
these too have all been timbered with the cedars
of Oregon.

Tunnels 12 and 13 are almost continuous, and
14 only far enough distant to open your guide-
book, and so you continue to alternate in light
and darkness, on the solid rock and deep ravines.
The creek below is gradually approaching. It is
crossed and recrossed, once on a high trestle. In
the tunnels and rocks and ravines we still have a
country as rugged as any railroad builders need
care to face.

At length the tunnels are all passed and the
canon begins to widen, showing the near ap-
proach of the summit. The road is no longer in
Tehachapi Canon, but in Tehachapi Valley.

The stage and rail road are side by side. When

Online LibraryFrederick E ShearerThe Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... → online text (page 55 of 61)